One look at Louis C.K.’s publicity still, which looks like a police mugshot, and one might glean that this is not your average, run-of-the-mill talent. Nor is this a normal person. Example: His second feature, which he’s in the midst of filming, is called “Pootie Tang in Sine Your Pitty on the Runny Kine,” based on a character that he created as a writer-producer on “The Chris Rock Show.”
“He so exaggeratedly cool that it almost looks like he might have palsy (or) something,” says C.K. of the comedy’s protagonist, played by Rock repertory player and fellow writer Lance Crouther. “But it’s not based on anybody else’s coolness. It’s very inventive. He uses a whole slang of words that I’ve just made up.”
The “Pooty Tang” movie represents C.K.’s second feature. In 1998, he made “Tomorrow Night,” a $180,000 indie film that made it into the Sundance Film Festival. Variety‘s Dennis Harvey called the pic “a midnight movie of a different stripe” that “could turn into a cult favorite.”
“It was black-and-white and totally weird,” says C.K. of the film. “I make very odd films.”
Much of C.K.’s humor appears to come from some sort of alternate universe. He helped create and MC’d “The Filthy Stupid Talent Show,” a kind of mock variety show that plays like it could have come from the mind of Andy Kauffman, and has been making short films for several years. His first short, “Caesar’s Salad,” won awards at the Chicago Film Festival and at the New Orleans Film and Video Festival.
Although he was one of the original staff writers for Conan O’Brien and was head writer and producer of “The Dana Carvey Show,” C.K. is very much a renaissance man, dividing his time between all the aforementioned disciplines, including standup, which he loves as much as filmmaking. Just don’t ask him to act.
“I had a development deal once with Castle Rock to do a sitcom and I thought, ‘OK, I’ll try.’ It was just boring and stupid and I just sucked at it — I’m not a good actor. I don’t have an interest to be in a sitcom, the usual end-of-the-rainbow for standups.”